What to do in Palm Springs: 9 things every visitor should do

If California sunshine, outdoor adventure and glamorous locations are required this summer, make a beeline for Palm Springs.

From Elvis to the Rat Pack, to golf fans and architecture buffs and those just seeking some sun, Palm Springs has long brought in the crowds.

Roughly 100 miles East of Los Angeles and on the western edge of the Coachella Valley, 3.5m sun-seekers make their pilgrimage to the Californian hotspot every year.

Though the exchange rate is unfavourable for Brits at the moment, there is plenty to recommend the resort if you’re over that way or planning a trip in the future.

And here to whet your appetite, are nine top things to do once in Palm Springs…

1. Go on the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway

At 8,500ft, Mountain Station at the top of Chino Canyon offers an awe-inspiring view of San Jacinto State Park. The tram ride over the two-and-a-half-mile canyon lasts around 10 minutes, giving time to drink in the valley below. At the top, there are observation decks, restaurants, hiking trails and even a natural history museum.

2. See world class art at the Palm Springs Art Museum

Photography, glass art, American sculpture and paintings all feature at this cultural hub which houses work from Marc Chagall, Pablo Picasso, Louise Bourgeois and Henry Moore. There’s free entry on Thursday evenings from 4-8pm and the second Sunday of every month. Visit www.psmuseum.org

3. Enjoy the mid-century architecture

Feel like an extra in Mad Men by strolling through the pretty streets and admiring the modernist homes. Read up on key architects Richard Neutra, Donald Wexler and William Cody, and look out for the stunning Palm Springs Visitor Centre, the Bank Of America building, Frey House, Wexler Steel House and the Ship of the Desert. Download the Palm Springs Modernism app to learn more.

4. Get tickets for Coachella Festival

Every April, thousands of music lovers descend on the desert to see a diverse mix of musical talent. This year, Kendrick Lamar, Lady Gaga and Radiohead are among those playing to the crowds. Film fans are also catered for at the yearly Palm Springs International Film Festival held every January.

5. Go back to nature in Coachella

Even if listening to live music at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival isn’t your bag, there’s plenty to see in the desert. Take a guided trail through the Coachella Nature Preserve to learn about the some 183 bird species who live in the desert, then enjoy a picnic in the grounds. Best of all, it’s free, though donations are very welcome.

6. Play golf

Escena is said to be the place to tee off in Palm Springs but the course comes from a crowded field given Palm Springs has an estimated 350 days of sunshine as well as desert and mountains as a backdrop.

7. See dinosaurs

If you have children, head west of Palm Springs to take in Claude Bell’s awesome giant dinosaur sculptures by the roadside.

8. See Frank Sinatra’s house

Take a trip to the Vista Las Palmas neighbourhood where Frank Sinatra owned a house. Twin Palms, his first home, has a piano-shaped pool and can be rented out. For a full Sinatra experience, pay a visit to one of Sinatra’s favourite joints, Melvyn’s restaurant, for a spot of fine dining.

9. Go shopping at Villagefest

Every Thursday, vendors pack in to central Palm Springs to sell arts, crafts and food at this pretty street market. There’s also live music and entertainment.

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